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How to Color a Car Sketch

Updated on December 20, 2016
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Luciano Bove is a car design manager working at Renault Design, born in Italy he studied at Art Center College of Design in California.


Dear friends,

today I will explain in 3 steps how we can render or color a nice car sketch. I will do it thanks to my friend Fabio Ferrante who from NY USA who sent me a real nice simple tutorial.

Before starting I would like to say few words about Fabio, we met first on Facebook few years ago and later on we met for real in Turin during IAAD design school Master program presentation where I was participating as speaker.

Fabio is a Young Italian designer working and living in New York, before moving to the States he did several projects in Italy to start his designer career and his most known project is the Puritalia design exterior and interior including Alias 3D virtual model and project follow up until the running prototype was ready for the show.

Fabio is someone giving everything he has Inside to get better at his work and never ends developing his own skills improving every day more.

He is a good example of a young designer believing that with love, passion and hard work you can become a respected designer with a great future to come.

Puritalia sketch by Fabio Ferrante
Puritalia sketch by Fabio Ferrante | Source

Step 1

Step 1: it is our drawing that has to be done with a quality line drawing, nice perspective, light background and few details.

It is better to add few lines about reflections, some wheels details. In a few words let's try to have the all car in lines well done. This way we know how to start color and what, when we have a good feeling about our line drawing it is time to start to have fun!

Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante
Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante | Source

Step 2

Step 2 is about how to apply color at first level, this means we are not going to do the all rendering in one shot. We need to create first color mass, so we will care about the body color and the lighter and darker areas according with our light source. Let's choose a color (Orange in this case) and let's use different tones in values of the same color to sculpt the real shape and volumes.

We can also start coloring the gray parts of our car sketch (bumpers or side skirts...).

Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante
Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante | Source

Step 3

Step 3 is the final part, it is about completing with extreme attention and care our color sketch or quick rendering. We have to make our background and all shadows including the ground one. We dedicate ourself to all details like front lights glasses, sidecar glasses and windshield, wheels details, light reflections and rear mirror shadow.

We draw and color with a gray scale all details to give a transparent effect to our side glasses to give a feeling of interior.

When we are done we complete by applying a better light effect on a specific part of our car to create a focal point (the first area we will see by looking at the color sketch). We always need a nice focal point because this will help the reader to see and understand better the full art work. This is the reason why we do not put light reflections all over the car, but just in a specific area which will help to read also the real shape and roundness of the car. Its volume.

Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante
Image courtesy of Fabio Ferrante | Source


OK the color sketch is done and it is not bad at all. It is simple, it is not over worked, we understand well how the car is, its sections, its details, the liquid reflections (called pool of lights), simple background and some nice sharp details to give credibility to the sketch and its proposed design.

Now it is up to you, come on go and try to do the same.

Exercise, exercise, exercise! (and enjoy)

© 2014 Luciano Bove


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      Valentino 3 years ago

      Thank you for this toturial , i love to do a renders .My favorite render colors are ICE Grey and Cool grey tones :)